The Eberly Family Distinguished Lecture Series2006-2007 season begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 25, in Elizabeth Moore Hall on West Virginia Universitys Downtown Campus.

The series, sponsored by the WVU Department of English and the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, opens with a discussion about the first black female novelist in America. The event is free and open to the public.

William L. Andrews, the E. Maynard Adams Professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, will presentRediscovering Julia Collins, The First African-American Woman Novelist.Collins was an African-American woman from Williamsport, Pa .

Andrews has edited more than 40 books on a wide range of African American literature and culture, and has lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Americas.

He is the author of The Literary Career of Charles W. Chesnutt and To Tell a Free Story: The First Century of Afro-American Autobiography, 1760-1865. Andrews is also co-editor of The Oxford Companion to African American Literature, and general editor of The Literature of the American South: A Norton Anthology andNorth American Slave Narratives, A Database and Electronic Text Library.

During the lecture, Andrews will discuss Collinsserialized novel,The Curse of Caste,which was published in 1865 by The Christian Recorder, the national newspaper of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.The Curse of Casteis the first novel ever published by a black American woman and focuses on the lives of a mixed-race mother and daughter whose opportunities for love and marriage are threatened by slavery and caste prejudice.

The Curse of Caste is now published for the first time in book form, edited by Professor Andrews and Mitch Kachun. Copies of the book will be available for purchase following the lecture.

For more information, contact John Ernest, Department of English, at or at 304-293-3107, ext. 33456.